• Willie Parker shrugged off talk about making the Pro Bowl, and for good reason. The Steelers running back goes against the top rush defense in the NFL on Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens visit Heinz Field. “I’m not worried about Honolulu right now,” Parker said Wednesday. “Right now, I’m worried about Baltimore.” Parker and the Steelers’ running game didn’t do much Nov. 26 in Baltimore, as Parker managed just 22 yards on 10 carries in 27-0 loss. “Hopefully, we’ll do better this game,” Parker said. Parker has done plenty the past two games, rushing for a franchise-record 223 yards against the Browns and following that up with a 132-yard game against the Carolina Panthers in his return to his home state. Parker ranks third in the AFC in rushing (1,331 yards) and total touchdowns (14).
• If Parker’s reaction to making the Pro Bowl came off as a tad muted, his teammates didn’t hide their happiness for the third-year running back, especially since voting for the all-star game tends to favor established players. “You don’t know whether they’re going to put a high-caliber guy in over him, but as far as he’s played all year, we knew he should be in for sure,” Steelers linebacker Joey Porter said of Parker. Porter said he didn’t have any problem with his being left off the AFC Pro Bowl squad. “I didn’t have the year I could have had,” said the three-time Pro Bowler, who leads the Steelers with seven sacks.
• Ravens quarterback Steve McNair, who left Sunday’s game with a hand injury and didn’t return, is expected to start against the Steelers. McNair, who has won 10 of 14 career starts against the Steelers, practiced yesterday and is not listed on the Ravens’ injury report. “I would like to think so,” coach Brian Billick said when asked whether McNair will start against the Steelers, “but that’s not my hand.” The Ravens could be without Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, who missed practice yesterday with a toe injury and is listed as questionable.
• Troy Polamalu (knee) practiced yesterday but is still listed as questionable. Safety Ryan Clark (groin) and center Jeff Hartings (knee) also missed practiced and are doubtful and probable, respectively.
• In addition to Ogden, tight end Todd Heap (thigh), wide receiver Derrick Mason (thigh) and cornerback Samari Rolle (neck) are all questionable for the Ravens.
• The Steelers placed Chad Brown and Chidi Iwuoma on injured reserve, ending their seasons. Cornerback Jovon Johnson was promoted from the practice squad, and the Steelers signed safety Andre Lott. Johnson, an Erie native, had been on the Steelers’ practice squad since early October. Lott, a fifth-round pick of the Washington Redskins in 2002, had been with the San Diego Chargers and Chicago Bears this season. Lott, however, hurt his ankle in practice yesterday and is questionable. The Steelers signed linebacker Richard Siegler to their practice squad.
1 – Ravens’ NFL rank in total defense.
4 – Players on the Ravens who have at least eight sacks.
52 – Sacks for Ravens, a franchise record.
265.8 – Total yards per game allowed by the Ravens.